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Navy Parachutist Dies During Fleet Week Demo Over Hudson River

A Navy Seal died on Saturday afternoon during a Fleet Week demonstration in Jersey City, NJ. The parachutist was supposed to land with fellow Leap Frogs in Liberty State Park, but he fell in the Hudson River.

"One of the team members' parachute malfunctioned. The Navy SEAL's parachute failed to open properly, and he landed in the water adjacent to Liberty State Park," said Rear Admiral Jack Scorby, Commander of the U.S. Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region.

Hundreds of people had been gathered to watch the demonstration. From the NY Times:

With the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the team of parachutists descended from a helicopter around noon. Onlookers described a typical Leap Frogs demonstration, in which the parachutists join hands and twist and turn in the sky. Their yellow and blue parachutes were emblazoned with “NAVY,” and one parachutist carried a giant American flag that whipped in the wind.

But one parachutist peeled off from the others and slipped out of view...

Maria Ashley, 49, a spectator, said few people around her realized anything had happened because several tall glass towers on the New Jersey side of the water blocked a view of the parachutist as he went into the river.

But Ms. Ashley said she had thought something had gone awry. “I knew it wasn’t right because the parachute should be in an arch,” she said.

The Leap Frogs had promoted the event on Facebook right before the jump:

Their Facebook page has photos of what the jump should have looked like:

The parachutist apparently cut the cords from his parachute, which landed in a parking lot. According to NJ.com, "Freelance photographer Joe Shine said the parachutist apparently realized he was in trouble and detached the chute so he would land in the Hudson River."

A boater told the Post that after he saw the three Leap Frogs land, "Almost the same time that they touched down in Liberty State Park, we heard a splash and turned around very quick. saw the water splash, and apparently there was a fourth parachutist... We’re not sure where he came from. We didn’t see him exit the same helicopter and apparently the chute did not deploy."

The Navy Seal was recovered from the water and pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. His parachute fell into a parking lot at 30 Hudson Street.

The incident is being investigated and the victim's name is being withheld until his family is notified.

Rear Admiral Scorby also said, "Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and I ask for all of your prayers for the Navy SEAL community who lost a true patriot today."

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